OMUTHIYA: The Oshikoto Education Directorate which has a total of 200 schools still has a number of learners who are being taught in prefabricated classrooms and sheds.
Director of Education in the Oshikoto Region, Lamek Kafidi revealed that there are still 90 prefabricated classrooms and 336 shed classrooms in use while speaking during the Omuthiya Circuit’s one-day annual teachers’ conference which was held at Ekulo Senior Secondary School (SSS) near Omuthiya on Friday.
Kafidi also pointed out that the region has 60 609 learners, 1 717 permanent classrooms and 2 311 teachers.
“Out of the 200 schools, 164 have water, 103 have electricity , 100 have telephone lines, 149 have toilets, and there are 98 teachers’ houses at 37 schools,” he noted, adding that these schools are organised in six circuits which will soon grow to eight with the re-activation of the Onyaanya Circuit and the creation of the Onkumbula Circuit.
The circuits report to one regional education office which is situated in the town of Ondangwa in the Oshana Region.
Kafidi told his audience that research findings have however shown that learning outcomes are not a direct result of the expenditure on education or the qualifications of the teachers, and it does not mean that putting more money, building classrooms, or employing highly qualified teachers will cause learning outcomes to improve.
Speaking about the progress of education in the Omuthiya Circuit, the Oshikoto Education Director noted that the regional education office is currently very concerned about the fact that it is not able to attract qualified teachers to that circuit due to its rural setting.
Of the more than 90 unqualified teachers in the Oshikoto Region, 12 are employed in the Omuthiya Circuit, 31 in the Onyuulaye Circuit, 31 in the Oshivelo Circuit, five in the Onathinge Circuit, eight in the Onankali Circuit and five in the Oshigambo Circuit.
“Research says this is not the problem. The problem lies in proper school leadership and management, teacher professionalism, commitment to work, discipline among teachers and learners, job satisfaction amongst teachers, parental involvement in the learning process and decentralisation of decision-making,” sated the Oshikoto Education Director.
Kafidi, therefore, appealed to teachers to adopt the responsibility of preparing themselves in advance to carry out their duties, such as lessons.
“If I receive guests such as heads of department (HODs), principals or even inspectors tomorrow, I would be happy to receive them because I am prepared and ready to execute my duties,” he further stated.
He added that he wants teachers to write out their daily preparation not because of fear that the principal will ask for it, but because it is a tool that would contribute to the success of their work.
He went on to say that job satisfaction is one of the main driving factors of success, while at the same time stating his disagreement with the belief that a good salary will bring about a positive change, arguing that the provision of textbooks, teaching materials and appreciation of the teaching profession is what results in success in the education system.
Here he mentioned the introduction of an incentive by the Education Ministry to lure qualified teachers to rural schools, known as the bush allowance.
“From the looks of things, it is not working. People are constantly asking for transfers from rural to urban areas despite an additional N.dollars 1 750, N.dollars 1 015 or N.dollars 750 per month which we pay in incentives,” Kafidi noted, adding that he worst part is that the results of rural schools have not yet shown improvement.
He suggested that teachers be provided with things such as accommodation, teaching materials and laboratories that are properly equipped.
“We were supposed to provide them with the required skills and please understand me when I talk about ‘skills’ and not paper qualifications. We were supposed to motivate them and appreciate the work that they do,” said Kafidi.
He concluded by telling the teachers that money will not improve learning, saying that it is instead the attitude of teachers, their professionalism, commitment and the working relationship with parents that will do the job.
A total of 360 teachers attended the Omuthiya Circuit Annual Education Conference, which was organised under the theme ‘Vision without Action is a Day Dream. Action without Vision is a Nightmare’.